A non-partisan organization, Academic Frontier Initiative (AFI), has called on the federal government to urgently meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in order to reopen public universities across the country.
ASUU had embarked on industrial action for over eight months now, following the non-implementation of the 2009 Agreement, 2019 Memorandum of Action, Arrears of Earned Academic Allowance (EAA), revitalisation funds, among other issues.
National Coordinator of the AFI, Dr Chinedu Onyeizugbe, while speaking with TNC correspondent on the development Saturday, urged the federal government to delay no further in attending to the agitations of ASUU, noting that the recent #EndSARS protests sweeping across the country, was fuelled by the continued closure of universities.
He said, if the students were in school and undertaking academic work, it would have been difficult for any of them to engage in the kind of violence witnessed in the aftermath of the protests.
“People are looking at these protests as a mere campaign against police brutality but the truth is that it is tilting towards revolution. Nigerians are no longer happy the way our leaders are handling issues in this country.
“Look at how the federal government is crippling the public university education. How long will members of ASUU and even non-academic staff remain on strike as a last resort?
“Isn’t it time for the government to show responsiveness and commitment by honouring the agreements between them and ASUU? Enough is enough, let the federal government address this issue once and for all,” he said.
The Secretary of the group, Dr. Tochukwu Oguegbe however, urged youths to avoid violence in their peaceful protests, while regretting that some hoodlums and miscreants used the opportunity of the protest to unleash mayhem on the unsuspecting public and unlawfully cart away other people’s belongings.
This, according to him, resulted in the wanton loss of lives and properties.
“We condemn in entirety, hoodlums who took advantage of the peaceful protests to destroy both individual and government properties. This poses a security threat to us as a people and it is never in the best interest of anyone. But we all know that this violence wouldn’t have been perpetrated had the students been in school. That is why we believe that putting an end to the lingering ASUU strike will stop these things,” he noted.
He enjoined security agencies to double their efforts at restoring law and order across the country, stressing that there can be no progress without law and order.